Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Feather Your Nest: Dining Chair Cushions

Hi Angel,

I FINALLY finished those $#%@&* dining chair cushions! This was one of those projects that seemed like a great idea -- simple! practical! cost-saving! perfect for Feather Your Nest! -- and turned out to be a frustrating endeavor. There was much hair-pulling, stabbing of the fingers with pins, and cursing ( I don't think I ever referred to them as anything other than "those damn cushions" in my emails!).

Do you swear when crafting? My husband likes to joke he never knew what a sailor's mouth I had until I began sewing regularly. He also blames all the kids' bad words on me -- which is probably fair, ahem.

But I digress. They're done!!


Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


It's really hard to take photos of all the chairs around the table -- while at the same time cropping out the huge piles of craft- and kid-related messes in the background, ha ha!


Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


We had had our old dining room chair cushions for many years. And they had had stains and missing buttons and torn ties for... many years. (But hidden under the table, so not so disgraceful, right?) Seriously, I am ashamed to think how long this project has been on my to-do list.

When Feather Your Nest came along, I moved this to the top of the priority list and chose a grey and white botanical print from Ikea in my stash to recover the old nasty cushions. I thought the home dec weight and neutral color would be perfect.


Before: Deez-gusting.

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


After: Kind of better.

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


This is kind of a boring post, but I'd love some input on the problems I ran into. So read on if you think you might be able to help me!

Nothing about this project was easy. Turns out I only had 1/2 yard of this fabric, and I needed that much to make each of my 4 cushions. So off to Ikea I went with the kids in tow (you probably remember this little post). I found the fabric on their diplay rack, but not on the shelf. So I hunted down an employee who found out the fabric was out of stock AND discontinued. Gah! With the kids squirming in the cart next to me, I asked her on a whim if I could buy the display fabric. She said yes! I had to cut out industrial grommets and some weird seams, but I got exactly 1.5 yards! Mission accomplished.


Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest

Yes. That's a beer. Because that's how I roll. And it helps with the swearing.

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


I'll spare you the painful details of the construction. The gist is: I wanted velcro tabs instead of ties to keep the cushions in place. I also wanted an invisible zipper in the back so that I could wash the cushion covers. I followed the pattern of the existing cushion covers, with one large piece of fabric wrapping around the cushion, and a rectangular panel on either side.

My new heavy-duty machine did pretty well with the multiple layers of home dec fabric, aside from the velcro tabs which were a bit rough. I used a size-16 needle, but I probably needed a denim needle. Does that sound right?

I've put in invisible zippers several times now, and am starting to get the hang of it. But for the life of me, I still can't get the end of the zipper (with the bulky zipper pull thingy) to be neatly hidden like the rest. I use a regular zipper foot, and iron my zippers first. And then I sew each zipper side in 2 parts, pulling the zipper pull to the middle to get it out of the way in the 2nd part. Can't figure it out. If you have any input to share in the comment, please do!

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


The most frustrating part came when I had to attach the rectangular panels to each side of the large wrap-around piece of fabric. I pinned so carefully (and have all those stab marks on my fingers to show for it) but still cannot figure out how to properly ease a rectangular shape into a "continuous" loop of fabric, if that makes any sense? Some of my ends matched decently, some didn't at all. All of my cushion covers have puckers and pleats instead of being smoothly attached. BLECH. This is when I think a proper sewing class would do me some good -- there are a lot of techniques I don't know and it would save me much grief to learn them.

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


All right. That's about it. The cushion covers are done. Our fresh cushions are on the dining room chairs. And altogether, I'm pretty happy with them! Not sure this is a project I would tackle again, but I'm happy to cross it off my list! Next up: paint the dining room chairs!

Jenny: Dining Chair Cushions for Feather Your Nest


Does anyone have some tips or a good tutorial for me to learn how to do those box seams (or whatever they're called??)? How about invisible zippers? Have you taken on a household improvement project that just wasn't worth the time and money? Do you swear when crafting? So many questions! I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Oh and don't forget to go check out all the ah-mazing Feather Your Nest entries and go vote for your favorite(s) here.

17 comments:

  1. I think they look lovely and I love the fabric. :)
    Once they've been sat on a few times who's gonna notice anyway? Only you ;)

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    Replies
    1. Aw you are so sweet, thank you! You're probably right. ;)

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  2. Did you sew the continuous piece of fabric on the rectangular piece, or did you sew the rectangular piece on top of the continuous piece? You have to have the continuous (straight piece of) fabric on top. When you get at the angle, you leave your needle in the fabric, lift the foot, make a perpendicular cut in both fabrics where you want to turn the corner, turn your fabrics, lower the foot, and sew the next length. Good luck...

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  3. I forgot to say, they look awesome! Yes, only YOU will know where the glitches are!

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  5. Wow this all makes so much more sense. Not having clipped that continuous piece of fabric explains why it was so hard to make it around the corners. *Epiphany* Thank you SO much for the explanations Mom and Linda!

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  6. These look great! I actually have a stash of this Ikea print squirreled away somewhere. It's good to know it's discontinued for future reference (bummer!). Oh and I also like to enjoy a beer whilst sewing, especially a fine Deschutes selection such as you have. ;)

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  7. Jenny the fabric is so pretty! I hope I get to see your living room in person again some time soon so I can see how all these gorgeous prints are working together in you home. You have a wonderful eye! I love how you tackle a project head on, great job on these.

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  8. Oh, I like the idea of how to sew the continuous fabric, though I'll have to see it in person to understand how it works. Another idea might be to start sewing in the middle of the strip to an end, then start in the middle again and sew to the other end. That way you can try to avoid the dreaded mis-match of lengths of the fabrics when you finally get to the end.

    For the zipper question, I have learned to use a longer zipper than I need, keeping the pull at the top away from my project, using Wonder Tape to keep the zipper down (no pins!) then after sewing, pulling the pull back down, cutting off the excess fabric, and sewing in little "stops" for the pull on either side of the zipper. Make sure to use a plastic zipper, that way you won't ruin your machine needle or your scissors. When you sew the zipper, start at the bottom each time and sew up to the top on either side of the zipper.

    I agree with everyone else: the cushions are fantastic. Definitely worth the cussing and frustration. You deserve another beer!

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  9. Hi there - they look pretty good for your first attempt :) here's a link to a tutorial by creative little daisy that she did quite a while ago - such a cute name for a blog - of course that's how I found her ! I haven't tried the tutorial but her cushions look pretty good - knew that info would come in handy one day - and look at the date - it was quite a while ago :)
    http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/2008/07/summer-sewing-perfectly-portable-cushion/
    ps - isn't beer so good for stress !

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  10. I roll with a beer and a potty mouth too--thanks for sharing with so much honesty and the cushions look awesome, worthy of your effort, so well done!

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  11. I think they look really lovely and probably are much better sewn than shop bought ones anyway! Thanks so much for posting this as I plan to make some chair cushions. I've never had any and so had to buy the inserts and I've been a bit afraid of tackling it so far!! The comments are invaluable, thanks ladies, I'll use your techniques! Now I just need to find out how to put in an invisible zipper...

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  12. Oh, and to answer your questions - I've never used a denim needle on home dec fabrics, I always just use a normal needle and it works fine. I swear. I lot. Mainly at my machine but also at the fabric, the rotary cutter and my iron. I don't like beer though.

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  13. Thank you all so much for your comments!!! The input, explanations and links are invaluable. I wish i had asked before tackling my cushions! And I love reading how so many of you swear and /or have a beer while crafting, ha ha!

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  14. I know that a lot of new to sewing people just use a regular foot when installing an invisible zipper, but way back in the dark ages when I started out (sewing garments) I used the invisible zipper foot. They make them for a reason, and that reason is that they work. I still have my original one, although I tend to avoid zippers just out of principle. For under 10.00 (I know it is cheaper than this, but can't remember what it actually is). It works great and for a small investment you have a zipper foot that is actually made for putting these zippers in. Yes, a regular zipper foot will work, but the right foot makes it a breeze to put one in. Can't add anything to the box corners since I avoid these too ;)

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  15. Do you have other designs that have a brighter color?


    Dining tables perth

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  16. Hi Thanks for the wonderful tutorial for home made dining chair seat pads. Seat pads in home are as important as the furniture you sit on.

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